Archives for April 2016

The 10 “Must-Haves” for your Landscape: #5 Pops of Color

Colorful fence

A lot of color, but demonstrates repetition

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the Ten “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape. Pops of color add a little icing on the cake. The color can be from evergreen shrubs, deciduous trees, colorful containers, or annuals or perennials. Just remember not to overdo it too much on the color, a little goes a long way. Also repeat the color in small sections throughout the landscape so that it is cohesive, just like you would when you decorate the interior of your home.

1. Year-round Color

There are a number of colorful evergreen shrubs that can give you year-round interest and some of these shrubs change colors throughout the season which is another added bonus.  Loropetalums are hugely popular, especially now that we have a few smaller varieties to choose from.  Loropetalums provide burgundy leaves throughout the year and also pink or red flowers in the spring. Nandinas provide touches of red or chartreuse during the growing season, and then some of them turn bright red in the winter adding another season of color.  There are now a number of different Abelias from yellow foliage (Kaleidoscope) to pink and cream (Mardi Gras or Confetti).  In the Arborvitae family there are a few varieties that have yellow tones, some of which don’t get too large and these can make great focal points.  Chamaecyparis (Gold Mop Cypress) are also a popular choice for bright yellow foliage, but just remember to give them some room so that you don’t have to prune them.  They are much prettier when left to grow naturally.  A relatively new introduction is Sunshine Ligustrum with its bright yellow foliage.  This definitely stands out on the nursery floor amongst the other shrubs!

Crimson Fire Loropetalum

Kaleidoscope Abelia

Fire Chief Arborvitae

Obsession Nandina

Obsession
Nandina

2. Colorful Trees

Coral Bark MapleTwo of my favorite trees are in the Japanese Maple family. Japanese Maples provide colorful foliage although the trees will be bare in the winter.  Coral Bark Maple has chartreuse leaves and red stems.  Bloodgood Japanese Maple has burgundy leaves. Weeping Japanese Maples come in an array of different colors and because of their form, they make great focal points even in the winter when they are bare. There are also many variations of the Eastern Redbud tree that have colorful leaves ranging from yellow to burgundy and these trees are the ones you see early in the spring covered in red buds.  Let’s not forget about the trees that give us some outstanding fall color like the Red Maples, Sugar Maples, Sweetgums, and Ginkgo.

3. Berries

BeautyberryBerries play an important role in the winter landscape not just for aesthetics, but also to feed wildlife. The tree forms of Hollies produce berries and these can be quite stunning.  Look for Yaupon Holly Tree, Savannah Holly, Foster Holly and Nellie Stevens Holly just to name a few.  American Beautyberry also provides a wonderful berry display with its bright magenta berries.  A couple of others include Winterberry (which the birds love!) and Pyracantha.

4. Annual and Perennial Color

IMG_0127Annuals (flowers that complete their life cycle in one growing season) are a great way to add color for an entire season. Annual beds are usually placed somewhere near the front door or by the pathway leading to the front door.  The annuals act as a focal point and draw your attention to the front door.  There are a ton of annuals to choose from and we can help you choose the right ones depending on how much sun your yard receives.  Perennial flowers (the ones that come back each year) have a shorter season of flowering lasting from as little as a few weeks to a few months.  Some of my favorites to pop in amongst your landscape are May Night Salvia, Purple Coneflower and Shasta Daisy as these all seem to have a long flowering season.

5. Whimsical Color

Maple in ContainerThis is where you can have some more fun.  Colorful containers make great accents and these can be used throughout the landscape, not just at your front entry. Sometimes when you have large trees it is hard to get anything to grow underneath because of the root system.  This is a great place for a large container with annuals, or a weeping Japanese Maple as a focal point.  It fills in an otherwise blank area and creates a design element.

Colorful ContainerIf you are still not sure where to begin, come in and see us at the Family Tree. We also offer a free Quick Sketch or a full Landscape Design Service that will help you get started.

Happy Gardening!
Tracy Davis
Horticulturist/Designer

Check out the rest of Tracy’s list of the top 10 ‘must-haves’ for your landscape!

#1 Foundation Plants
#2 Trees
#3 Screening
#4 A Welcoming Front Entry
#5 Pops of Color
#6 Focal Points
#7 Nooks
#8 Hardscaping
#9 Entertaining Areas
#10 Animal Friends

The 10 “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape: #4 A Welcoming Front Entry

Front DoorThis is the fourth in a series of articles on the Ten “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape. Front entries are so important as this is often the first encounter a visitor will have to your home.  You want to make the entrance welcoming so here are a few suggestions that help make a front entrance one to be proud of.

1. Path and Front Door should be Visible

This seems obvious, but I have seen properties where the overly aggressive groundcover has covered up the path and overgrown shrubs have nearly covered the entrance so you can’t see the front door.  Any shrub that is planted by the front door needs to be size appropriate.  It may be the right size when we purchase it from the nursery, but check the mature height and width before bringing it home.  I have seen shrubs like Arborvitaes planted on either side of the entry (and this is common) and when the shrubs start to reach their mature size, there is not much room for visitors to get past them!  The passage to the front door should be unobstructed.  Keep the path and entry porch clean and free of leaves and other natural debris.

2. Focal points

Regina2The front entrance is a great place for focal points. These can be urns with seasonal plants placed at the base of the front steps, a fountain near the front door (the sound of water is so welcoming and peaceful), containers on the front porch or entry with evergreen plants or flowers, rocking chairs or a swinging chair, large lanterns, colorful cushions, and the list goes on. The photo to the left shows the entry to Regina’s house. She is one of the talented designers at the Family Tree Garden Center.  You will see that she has pretty much ticked all the boxes when it comes to focal points and her entry is stunning. You just want to curl up on the swing and stay for a while.

3. Placement of Containers

Regina urns (1)Beautiful front entry (1)Containers with plants should be placed so that they don’t constrict the entry.  Don’t make your guests have to revert to single file in order to weave their way through the containers.  I am definitely guilty of this one. When you are a plant-a-holic it is difficult to stop at just a few containers on the front porch!  Keep it simple, but stunning.  If you are not sure about what plants to put in your containers, come and check out some of our custom containers at the store to give you some ideas, or we can design the containers for you.

4. Annual Color

Regina3 (1)The path to the front door is the perfect place for a bed of annuals.  It doesn’t have to be very big to provide a pop of color. You can change the look of the front of your house just by changing up the annual bed color. Again this is Regina’s entry but with different annual color. Notice how different the pathway looks just from the change in annuals.

5. Hanging Baskets

front-porch-20These are great for instant curb appeal. Boston ferns are a favorite hanging basket and you don’t have to worry about the greenery clashing with your house color.  If you are choosing flowering hanging baskets, try to keep the color scheme uniform so that the hanging baskets tie in with your annual bed colors, or compliment the colors of your house.  In the attached photo the baskets mimic the colors in the landscape.

6. Outdoor Lighting

11-stunning-photos-of-landscape-lighting-pegasus-lighting-blog-exterior-landscape-lightingIt is nice to have some form of outdoor lighting that will illuminate the pathway and other features of the house. Not only does this make it easier for guests arriving after dark, but the house looks inviting with outdoor lighting.

If you are still not sure where to begin, come in and see us at the Family Tree. We also offer a free Quick Sketch or a full Landscape Design Service that will help you get started.

Happy Gardening!
Tracy Davis
Horticulturist/Designer

Check out the rest of Tracy’s list of the top 10 ‘must-haves’ for your landscape!

#1 Foundation Plants
#2 Trees
#3 Screening
#4 A Welcoming Front Entry
#5 Pops of Color
#6 Focal Points
#7 Nooks
#8 Hardscaping
#9 Entertaining Areas
#10 Animal Friends

The 10 “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape: #3 Screening

This is the third in a series of articles on the Ten “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape.   We all have those areas of our yard that we don’t want to draw attention to such as hiding trash cans, compost piles, work areas, or vegetable gardens. Or in order to love they neighbor we may have to screen thy neighbor a little!  In any event, there are a variety of shrubs to meet every need.

1. Make sure the shrub is Evergreen

An effective screen has to be evergreen.  You don’t want the screen to disappear in the winter time.  As with any landscaping, chose appropriate height, color, texture, and growth rate for your situation.

2. Shrubs for large screens

Leyland Cypress

Leyland Cypress

Green Giant Arborvitae

Green Giant Arborvitae

Most people are familiar with Leyland Cypress.  In fact, this is probably the #1 plant that customers request for screening.  Leyland Cypress are one of the fastest growing screening trees.  They are also one of the largest so allow plenty of room for these trees.  Leylands may not be appropriate to divide you and your neighbor because of their size.  They can reach 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide at maturity so eventually they are going to block a lot of sun and your neighbor may not appreciate that!  Leylands can have an issue with Canker fungus and sometimes you will see entire limbs go brown so this is something to keep an eye out for as if you catch it early, you can stop it infecting the entire tree.  An alternative to the Leyland Cypress is the Green Giant Arborvitae.  It grows just as quickly and has a more pyramidal shape.  Other options would be Japanese Cryptomeria or Magnolias such as the Little Gem variety.

3. Shrubs for Medium screens

Tea Olive

Tea Olive

Examples would be more size appropriate screens between neighbors, or when you want to block the view to the vegetable garden or working area.  There are several shrubs that can be used for this purpose. Tea Olives are great.  They also have tiny fragrant flowers that permeate the air in the spring and the fall. They can be maintained as a shrub or left to form small trees. Nellie Stevens Holly, or other upright forms of holly can be used and they have the added bonus of berries in the winter time. Cleyera is another popular choice as it grows very fast.  It too can get large, so if you are not into pruning, allow plenty of room for it to grow. Other choices would include Ligustrum, many species of Arborvitae, large Boxwoods, Eleagnus, Junipers, Loropetalum, evergreen Viburnums, and for a more shaded yard look to the upright Yews, Aucuba, or Camellias.  Also, some of the larger forms of Azalea could be used such as Formosa or George Taber, but bear in mind that Azaleas do drop some of their leaves over the winter.

4.  Shrubs for Smaller screens

Loropetalum

Loropetalum

Usually we want to screen air conditioners or other utilities around the property.  Try to avoid using shrubs that have spines or thorns around utility areas that you will have to access from time to time.   Quite often Knock-Out roses are used to screen utility boxes, but these are not evergreen, and they are not very welcoming for service technicians because of their thorns.  Some great choices are Gardenias, Compact Japanese Holly, some of the smaller Loropetalums such as Purple Diamond, Boxwoods, smaller varieties of Arborvitae and Camellia, larger varieties of Indian Hawthorn.

5.  Other Screening Options

Carolina Jessamine

Carolina Jessamine

Sometimes a screen can act as a focal point and even though it may not be thick and lush, it gives the illusion of a screen.  For instance, a trellis with an evergreen climbing vine can be an effective screen. Evergreen vines include Confederate Jasmine, Carolina Jessamine, or Evergreen Clematis.  If you are using a trellis that provides good screening on its own, you could use many of the seasonal vines or deciduous vines.  Some colorful annual vines include Bougainvillea and Mandevilla, and the deciduous Clematis are also very pretty.

If you are still not sure where to begin, come in and see us at the Family Tree. We also offer a free Quick Sketch or a full Landscape Design Service that will help you get started.

Happy Gardening!
Tracy Davis
Horticulturist/Designer

Be sure to check out the rest of Tracy’s list of the top 10 ‘must-haves’ for your landscape!

#1 Foundation Plants
#2 Trees
#3 Screening
#4 A Welcoming Front Entry
#5 Pops of Color
#6 Focal Points
#7 Nooks
#8 Hardscaping
#9 Entertaining Areas
#10 Animal Friends

7th Anniversary Sale!

It’s that time of year again! The Family Tree is celebrating its 7th anniversary in Snellville and we are so excited that we’ve been in the community for this long! We love our customers and how they have supported us through the years and to thank you all, we’re having a fantastic sale on some of our most popular plants and lawn care items throughout the store April 8-10.vinca

Some of our great deals include colorful 3.5” annuals and 4” groundcovers for only 99¢! These are perfect for container gardens and flower beds; the possibilities that these pretty plants have is endless, so stock up now!

If you love roses and azaleas, we’ve got you covered: select 3 gallon roses are 15% off and 1 gallon traditional azaleas are 3 for $15 all weekend! Now it’s easier than ever to fill your yard with beautiful flowering shrubs!

Floribunda_roseWe’re giving away a $100 gift card to one lucky customer! Just imagine how many gorgeous plants you could get for your yard with $100! Even better, there is no purchase necessary to enter! Register April 8-10 and the winner will be announced on April 11.

The past 7 years have been wonderful at The Family Tree and we’ve come to love each and every one of our customers who have helped us flourish as beautifully as the plants we sell! Please stop by to shop the fabulous sales we have going on this weekend in honor of all our wonderful customers!

Help Keep Your Plants Warm this Weekend!

With the cooler temperatures coming this weekend, you’re probably wondering how you can protect your beautiful spring flowers. What temperature does it have to be for the plants to freeze; how cold is too cold? That can be a tough question to answer because all plants tolerate cold differently, which is reflected in the USDA Zone rating they receive.wrapped tree

For this weekend’s cold snap, you won’t need to worry about the roots freezing, but there is a possibility that the cooler temperatures will damage the leaves and blooms on your shrubs. Here are 3 Ms to help keep your plants looking fresh and perky.

Mummify – Covering your least cold tolerant plants with an old sheet or blanket will keep them warm by acting as insulation, trapping the warm air from the ground around the plant. Do not use plastic, as this can harm the plant by trapping oxygen around the plant. Uncover the plants as soon as you get up in the morning so that they can benefit from the warm sunshine during the day.

Mulch – Having a layer of new mulch surrounding the base of the plant will protect the base of the plant. Because mulch has numerous air pockets that the sun will warm up throughout the day, it retains some of that heat during the night and keeps the plant warm.

Moisturize – If you decided to mummify or mulch your plants, but are still worried about them, you can nestle a jug of hot water near it to warm the area and protect against the cooler air. Never place the jug beneath the sheet with the plant as the condensation can freeze and damage the plant.

While it’s not supposed to get super cold this weekend, it is always better to be over prepared than under prepared! If you have any questions, feel free to drop by The Family Tree to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales associates; we’re always happy to help!